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Oscars 2022 | What’s “international” in a movie?

It’s time American awards shows dropped the “international” or “foreign” category and judge a movie as just a movie.

March 27, 2022 / 08:28 PM IST
'Drive My Car'—the only movie nominated in the Best Picture as well as the Best International Feature categories—has already made history.

'Drive My Car'—the only movie nominated in the Best Picture as well as the Best International Feature categories—has already made history.

It’s been three years since The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided “foreign” wasn’t a word that should qualify any of their awards categories. The Best Foreign Language Feature changed to the more politically correct Best International Feature Film. “We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” wrote Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the Academy subcommittee that facilitates the category, in a statement explaining the new name. “We believe that International Feature Film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”

The next year, Korean director Bong-Joon Ho’s Parasite won Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best International Feature Film.

It was a historic sweep for the Korean director who had already been a transnational filmmaker. He had worked with American collaborators since his first English Language film Snowpiercer (2013). Okja (2017), which also won major awards at prestigious festivals across the world, was made with Hollywood collaboration. He went back to his Korean roots more doggedly for Parasite, which was almost entirely in Korean.